Patrick Shandrick, a former Human Services Commissioner, spoke during Tuesday’s City Council meeting to address the Public Safety Commission’s recent recommendation to reduce the number of budgeted Sheriff’s deputies. Shandrick has lived in West Hollywood for over 20 years with his husband and dog Tia, and is an active member in the West Hollywood West Residents Association (WHWRA). His comments are re-printed below.
Good evening Mayor Meister & City Council. Patrick Shandrick, longtime resident of West Hollywood.
I am speaking about concerns over safety and security in the community and recent actions taken by the City of West Hollywood’s Public Safety commission.
Residents feel unsafe. We see crime increasing in and around West Hollywood; deadly stabbings, robberies by gunpoint, people being hit and harassed on our streets, car break-ins, and mail theft. I say “in and around” West Hollywood because to the average citizen it doesn’t matter if a gun is pulled on someone on the Los Angeles side of La Cienega or the West Hollywood side, it’s in our community.
I attended a recent West Hollywood West Residents Association meeting where West Hollywood Sheriff’s Lt. Bill Moulder and the city’s Public Safety Director Kristen Cook listened to residents’ concerns and experiences around this increase in crime. Lt. Moulder said that as we come out of the pandemic, the crime rate is going up. Director Cook said we actually have less deputies today than when she joined the city over 20 years ago–67 sworn officers that were directly paid for then have been reduced to about 60.
This brings me to the last weeks Public Safety commission meeting and their recent vote to “Decrease the Police” even further–by nearly 20%–without even providing an alternative or gathering community input. A decrease in security, while our current and projected population continues to grow and our hotel and office space increases. I anticipate this will not have any influence on your decision tonight to approve the mid-year budget.
Lastly, I have to say I am very concerned about the accusations Councilmember Lindsey Horvath’s Public Safety commissioner, Nika Soon-Shiong, lobbed against the Los Angeles County Sheriffs in overcharging the city for law enforcement services they provide to our city. Sheriff Villanueva responded to the city with documentation disputing such allegations. The West Hollywood City Manager needs to address these accusations immediately and seriously to restore public trust. The council and commission should find better ways to collaborate with the WeHo Sheriffs instead of creating a toxic relationship. Commissioner Soon-Shiong should temporarily step down until this is all cleared up. Something just doesn’t smell right here.